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If streets could speak, Jerusalem would have quite a yarn to spin. Continuously inhabited for a good 3000 years, the Israeli capital has seen its share of prophets, war, tragedy and triumph, and not a few of these incidents have found their way into the bible itself. The city is holy to three faiths - Islam, Judaism and Christianity - and a short stroll reveals legendary holy sites, including the Dome of the Rock, The Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. But Jerusalem is not simply an open air museum; it is a living, breathing city, thick with commerce, the smell of spices and the constant sight of locals gabbing over cups of ...

If streets could speak, Jerusalem would have quite a yarn to spin. Continuously inhabited for a good 3000 years, the Israeli capital has seen its share of prophets, war, tragedy and triumph, and not a few of these incidents have found their way into the bible itself. The city is holy to three faiths - Islam, Judaism and Christianity - and a short stroll reveals legendary holy sites, including the Dome of the Rock, The Western Wall and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher. But Jerusalem is not simply an open air museum; it is a living, breathing city, thick with commerce, the smell of spices and the constant sight of locals gabbing over cups of tea. Outside the mighty walls of the Old City, the modern area of West Jerusalem is a patchwork of fascinating neighborhoods, all of it constructed with the ubiquitous Jerusalem stone that glows in the afternoon light. An evening around Ben Yehuda St reveals some surprisingly swish restaurants, cafes and bars. There are enough museums and sights to keep you busy for weeks, but the people of Jerusalem are what make the city unique. They are fiery, conservative, religious and passionate, and your encounters with both Jewish and Arab residents will make for some unforgettable experiences.

Michael Kohn
About the Expert

Michael Kohn is the author of Lonely Planet guides to Israel & the Palestinian Territories, South Africa, Tibet, Central Asia, Mongolia, and Sri Lanka.

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Michael Kohn for Triporati

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Facts at a Glance

  • Location: Middle East; between Egypt and Lebanon; bordering the Mediterranean Sea
  • Language: Hebrew; Arabic; English
  • Currency: Israeli Shekel
  • Research: Jerusalem
  • Weather: Rainfall | Daylight

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    March to October